I figured I should start numbering these posts just in case anyone (me) wants to easily find them in an organized manner. Compared to the last Lily’s Lit I produced, the books I talk about today are much heartier and substantial. BUT, they all have female leads. And in Lily’s Lit #11 all three of the books reviewed were written by men. What can I say? I like to switch it up.
In high school, my smart friend Sarah (In my head I would label my friends in either the smart or dumb category. I, myself, fell somewhere closer to the dumb category, occasionally surprising myself with bursts of smart.) handed me the book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
“Read this” she said.
“Uhh I don’t know if I can handle it” I replied, studying it’s thickness and minuscule print.
It sat in my locker until I handed it back to her on one of the last weeks of school. Never even tried it. Years later I kept seeing the Outlander series sitting impressively in book stores, wanting to try it again but unsure if I would enjoy it. When I was at my friend’s house a month or so ago (She is also smart, but I’ve realized that everyone is smart in their own way. I don’t label people smart or dumb anymore.) I saw her stack of Gabaldon books and asked if I could borrow Outlander. She handed it over and guaranteed that I would like it very much. And I did.
The story starts off in Scotland in 1945. Claire Randall is with her husband on a bit of a second honeymoon/research trip when she happens upon some standing stones (think mini Stonehenge). When she touches the magic of the stones, she travels back in time, to the Scottish highlands. A simpler time, yet also a time of danger. In an exciting whirlwind she ends up beginning a new life and quietly adapts to her surroundings. Adventure and sexiness ensues.
I really didn’t think I would like this book as much as I did. The story is very far fetched, but it struck a chord with me. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
After that I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Narrated by the voice of death, this story looks at a young girl’s life during the horror of Nazi Germany. In a small German town the girl, Liesel, is fostered by a man and a woman who teach her how to read and the beauty of words.
I liked this story because it reminded me that not all Germans approved of the Nazi party and that Germany was not beautiful and safe for those who weren’t Jewish. Zusak’s storytelling style was very simple, which I enjoyed. It was easy to follow, yet still very powerful. I hope to see The Book Thief movie soon so I can compare and contrast. One of my favorite hobbies–comparing and contrasting.
Just yesterday I finished a memoir called A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout. I think this one will stay with me for a very long time. It’s the kind of story that puts life into perspective. It makes you think, well I guess my life is pretty good.
Amanda Lindhout recounts her amazing story of travel and triumph after she was captured by a group of Somali masked men. She and her travel companion, Nigel, had previously done some venturing together and had figured that going to Somalia, a war ridden, terrorist filled, Islamic country would be a good spot to start their journalistic/photographic endeavors. They were both seasoned travelers, yet nothing could prepare them for the hardships (putting it lightly) they would have to endure.
Part of me loves Amanda, her honesty, her strength and her power to overcome adversity. And part of me thinks that she had tempted fate one too many times and wasn’t logical about the dangers that surrounded her. Either way, hers is a fantastic story that is definitely worth reading. And she’s Canadian ;)
Have you read any books lately?